Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 10:56 AM
You are in the Prices Paid - Buying & Leasing Experiences
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Sedan, Wagon
#1449 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [bevbran]
Jan 07, 2012 (1:30 am)
Bev, I am not surprised at all about your initial impressions of the 2012 E350 sedan.
Since this forum is about pricing and buying experiences, I was wondering if your dealership took sufficient time to fully explain all the features and options of the car when you took delivery? Since this Mercedes is a vastly different car when compared to the 2009 (I had a 2009 sport also), the learning curve is quite extensive - from the speed of the reaction of the car to "voice command", the smoother transmission response, engine responsiveness, electronic hear selector stalk connected to the steering wheel, bi-xenon headlights with cornering illumination and the adaptive high beam assist, and the automatic trunk closer closer with "close or close and lock/alarm feature", to the totally different handling and ride.
When I took delivery, they had a specialist go over the major drive and audio features with me in the car while the car was parked in their new indoor car delivery center (which took about an hour). Then, they made an appointment fore to return 2 days later for an additional 2 hour instructional session, indoors again in the car to go over computer functions such as NAV, satellite radio option including traffic and weather read-outs and options, blue tooth and address book download directly from my I-Phone and hands-free calling and call-receiving functions, as well as a 20 minute demonstration of the various audio functions and options including HD station selection and operation, Logic 7 surround sound functions on radio-CD-satellite, etc. Then, the specialist gave me a 5 minute oral quiz to make sure I had assimilated the learning experience into positive action. Just learning how the adaptive high beam assist worked was a unique experience.
Quite frankly, my biggest beef with automobile dealerships has always neen how poorly they handled the customer once the paperwork was completed and the manor in which they deliver new cars to their clients. This experience was, without doubt, the very best in all the years I have been buying new cars. They even served a brief brunch (bagel, cream cheese, coffee/soft drink and donut) after the tutorial session. They do this for all new car deliveries from 8:30 AM through 8:30 PM. From what I understand, most people do not take advantage of this service due to their time constraints, but most return for a a refresher. It's a great way to ensure outstanding CSI (customer satisfaction index) as a result of Mercedes's customer satisfaction surveys. I believe more and more dealerships are using this format to ensure that their customers fully understand the proper operation and capabilities of these new hi-tech computerized systems in the newer cars.
I would be interested in knowing if other forum readers experienced similar deliveries. Sure does promote dealer loyalty and repeat business.
Enjoy the new car, Bev. From your previous posts, sounds like you felt like a young kid on her first visit to a candy store!
#1450 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [abacomike]
Jan 07, 2012 (4:13 am)
Who was your dealer? I'm sure they'd appreciate the plug. Thanks.
#1451 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [abacomike]
Jan 07, 2012 (5:00 am)
Yeah, I know what you mean. The dealer I bought from about 2 hours away easily had the best price but the car go-over was very quick and left out a lot of things. Surprising because the dealer is very successful (sells a lot of cars).
In retrospect, because of that and a couple of other glitches I would have paid 1 or 2% more to have bought locally and maybe received better service. But local wasn't up for dealing at all. In fact my neighbor was the one that referred me to the other dealer where she saved 2 grand by driving two hours.
Still overall happy with the new car and basically just had a little stress on the pickup is all. And some in-depth owner's manual reading.
#1452 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [wireless]
Jan 07, 2012 (7:56 am)
When I was in the car business, we never trusted the salesperson to ensure the car was delivered properly. Prior to my joining that dealership, salespeople were delivering their own cars. When I joined the organization, CSI was at 83% satisfaction. I then initiated a new car delivery department and hired a manager to run it. Within three months it went up to 94% and within 6 months, to 97%. That increased our per car incentive from the manufacturer from $50 per car to $200 per car. When you sell over 2400 cars a year, that is significant. It more than paid for the added employees and increased our per car net profit.
The last contact a dealership has with its customers prior to servicing the car is the delivery of the new car. That experience must be outstanding if you expect repeat business and referral business. That is why I mentioned this in my posting - so many dealerships place too much responsibility for new car deliveries with their sales staff. The sales staff wants to move quickly to their next customer because that is how they earn their living. This they tend to take shortcuts, especially in the delivery process, which when done properly, can take several hours, depending upon the specific needs of the customer.
If you purchase or lease a car from a high volume dealership where they work on high sales volume with lower per-vehicle gross profits, they will tend to skimp more on their customer service by sales personnel because most of their sales are "mini-deals" which means they make a flat commission on each sale which can range between $75 and $200 per vehicle, which means they must sell 30-50 vehicles per month to earn bonuses or just to eke out a living. Thus, if you want great service and attention to details, dealing with a lower volume dealer and paying a little more is "usually" necessary, but there are, of course exceptions. We should expect more attention to detail and better customer service from a Mercedes dealership, but as you post demonstrates, this is not always the case!
If you can save $1000 on a new car, you don't mind a few shortcuts or less-than-good customer service. The task at hand then becomes finding a dealership where you can both get the best price and the best customer service.
#1453 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [abacomike]
Jan 08, 2012 (12:57 pm)
Great question about delivery, Mike. I felt like my delivery experience was pretty comprehensive (45 min to 1 hr) until I read about yours! The sales person conducted it, covered the areas you mentioned but probably not as in depth as yours. And no oral exam He sync'd my phone as well, covered voice command--but I did not learn the "how" behind the adaptive high beams (which I love). The manuals are extensive and I will dig in and keep self-educating. Agreed that they could do more on delivery day.
One thing I forgot to mention previously was the Harmon Kardon sound system. Holy moly! The sound is very true--no distortion at the high or low ends and the surround sound is amazing. I never felt like I got the front/back balance right on my last car, but this car came set up sounding like a concert hall.
Mike, you haven't oversold the 2012 E350 a bit. This is a magnificant automobile.
#1454 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [bevbran]
Jan 08, 2012 (1:22 pm)
Bev, there is a sensor behind your rear-view mirror, in about the same place as the sensor for your rain-sensing wipers. It has a magnifier attached and measures ambient light ahead of your car. When you push your directional signal stalk "forward", it activates your adaptive high beam assist function. If the sensor "senses" a vehicle in front of you, it turns your brights off. If it picks up or senses headlights in front of you, it also turns your high beams off. Once the sensor cannot pick up a car in your lane in front of you or cannot sense headlights, your highbeams are automatically turned on. I tried the system out and it works beautifully. Very sensitive to vehicles in front of car for at least one full block away. Remember, you must first activate the system in your settings monitor inside your speedometer screen under the main category of "lights".
Hope that answered your wonderment. Sounds like your salesperson did a better-than-average job delivering your car to you.
#1455 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [bevbran]
Jan 08, 2012 (4:04 pm)
Just one additional follow-up comment about the Harmon Karmin surround-sound system in the new E350 sedan (the system in the coupe and convertible is not as powerful with fewer speakers as well) was improved for 2012 - they added 2 additional speakers bringing the total to 14. That was the main difference from 2011. But remember, you are comparing the 2009 with the 2012, which is even more pronounced. I experience far superior sound reproduction when tuned to an FM "HD" (hi definition) station when compared to satellite or even some of my older CD's. When I compare this system to the similar system found in the BMW 535i, the one in the Mercedes is far superior, for some strange reason. My neighbor has a 535i with the upgraded Harmon Karmin system and even he agreed the Mercedes had superior sound and highly defined surround sound. We can't figure out why, even though we tried researching this.
Perhaps someone out there knows why.
#1456 of 2214 Re: I LOVE this car!! [abacomike]
Jan 08, 2012 (7:41 pm)
Yes, good point, Mike...I'm comparing to the previous generation, so it is more pronounced! While I am not able to address the BMW vs. Mercedes sound comparison, I can add my 2 cents worth about the audio sources. On HD radio....HD AM stations roughly have the equivalent of FM-Analog quality. FM HD signals roughly upgrade to the equivalent of CD (compact disc) quality sound. That's a generality and highly dependant upon how the individual radio station is processing their sound. As you point out, older CDs aren't always "all that" because many were manufactured from analog sessions. A good quality CD in your car will be great sound, and I suppose that's why they choose that format for the Harmon Kardin demo disc, huh? Generally speaking most broadcast music you hear these days are from .wav files played from studio hard drives, and significantly higher quality than the mp3 formatted files on your iPod. Also a generality, but the XM Sirius quality is, well, just okay. They're playing .wav files in their studios, like terrestial radio, but band width limits fidelity. Best sources to impress your friends, neighbors and passengers: FM-HD and high quality CDs...as you've already discovered
#1457 of 2214 Re: Great car!!!
Jan 08, 2012 (9:54 pm)
Well, it was almost anti-climactic after the several weeks of research, test drives, posting and reading on this website. I have been driving my black exterior/almond interior 2012 E350 which I picked up last week and really like it. While the black exterior does get dirty sooner than my medium gray BMW 528i, this color combination is very rich and elegant, yet sporty at the same time. Even though the car is black, it looks bigger than it is.
My salesman was very helpful and spent about 45 minutes going through the car with me, from programing the nav system, syncing the contacts on my cell phone, adjusting the memory seats (driver and passenger) and the list goes on (even the emergency release inside the trunk). I felt that the time was sufficient, and look through the owner's manuals for more details or to find out something that I may have forgotten from his walk-through. Using the different gadgets helps me learn them.
I got the sport package with the P1 package, lane change/blind spot assist and AMG wheels. The nav system is easy to use, as is the radio. The voice control is pretty incredible and very responsive.
The cabin is beautiful: the almond seating contrasts beautifully with the black dash and black carpet and walnut burl. The adjustable seats with memory for both driver and passenger are very supportive but comfortable.
The E350 definitely feels more solid than my 528i. It has a very nice ride, smooth yet sporty with good steering and handling. I think the 528 has a little more responsive handling, but that might be due to the lighter feel of the car.
I'm very happy with the E350. I've owned several Lexus (ES300 and GS 300) and two BMW's (325 and 528) and I like the E350 more than any of them. All of them are great cars and I certainly am not knocking any of them. I think the E350 has features of both the Lexus and BMW. It has creature comforts of the Lexus (all of which the BMW does not have) but more personality than the Lexus. The sport package gives it good styling and handling more akin to the BMW, but it is much finer in detail, and roomier in front and back. The BMW is what I would consider a luxury sport car, whereas the E350 is more of a sporty luxury car.
To all of you who are considering what to get, just read the comments of those who post on this site, see the cars in person and test drive them yourself, and get the car and features that suit you the best. Enjoy the experience.
#1458 of 2214 Re: Great car!!! [lawcar]
Jan 08, 2012 (11:54 pm)
David, sounds like you are extremely happy with your new Mercedes. My 2011 was black with almond - very distinguished and rich looking - but I just disliked having to wash it twice a week to keep it looking great.
I agree with your analogy regarding the BMW being a luxury sports car and the Mercedes being a sporty luxury car. Having owned both, the Beemer handled sportier, however the interior of the Mercedes is richer and more luxuriously refined.
Have you noticed the difference In sound systems? I don't know if you had the upgraded one in your 528i, but if you did, I sure would like to hear your assessment.
Your post was right on target.